Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Malaysia’s new PM scraps Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail

Malaysia’s new PM scraps Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail

"The MRT3 project will be discontinued", he told reporters, after chairing the second weekly Cabinet meeting here today.

"We need to do away with some of the unnecessary projects, for example the high-speed rail, which is going to cost us RM110bil and will not earn us a single cent". Asked if Malaysia would reconsider its decision if its southern neighbour could prove that the project would benefit Malaysia, he said: "We will listen to them".

The Malaysian Government has confirmed that Malaysia would drop the project and would potentially have to pay RM500mil in compensation.

The Singapore government has also invested a fair bit in planning and early projections for the project such as engaging planners and civil engineers, said Azman Jaafar, deputy managing partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and chairman of Asean Plus Group.

He questioned the need for the project in the first place, saying "it is not going to serve any objective, it is not going to give us any returns". In the interview with The Edge, he claimed that his predecessor and former protegé "didn't care" about the government's debt ceiling when he signed on the project. I mean if we are in a better position later on.

"I hope decisions will not be made while clouded by emotions, as only the people will lose out in the end", he concluded.

"There are other development plans for the area, but the HSR Terminus would have been the jewel in the crown of the area", said National University of Singapore transport lecturer Lee Der Horng was quoted as saying by the Straits Times. "The integration between two major cities and economies in Southeast Asia will yield benefits beyond just ticket sales", he said, adding that cities such as Batu Pahat, Muar, Ayer Keroh, Melaka and Seremban would enjoy double benefits from the project. Of course there are different interpretations, different opinions and so on.

"As a long-term honest friend and important partner to Malaysia, China is looking forward to working with the new Malaysian government to advance China-Malaysia pragmatic cooperation in the spirit of equality and mutual trust, and to secure mutual benefits and win-win results". And the number one priority is to make sure our finances are back to healthy, back to a healthy stage and our ability to pay government loans and debts is our number one priority.

Its president, Prof Dr Mohamed Rehan Karim, said the government's decision is apt given the country's high debt level.

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